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Kansas Agribusiness Commodity Flow study will help farmers and policymakers in future decisions.

Jennifer M. Latzke, Editor

August 10, 2022

3 Min Read
Trucks haul grain to grain silos and elevators
COMMODITY FLOW: Kansas Department of Agriculture recently commissioned the Kansas Agribusiness Commodity Flow Study, which shows how agricultural commodities and products flow into and out of the state. This information can better help farmers and policymakers as they make future decisions about infrastructure needs in the state, commodity rotation decisions, new market exploration and more. DarcyMaulsby/getty images

In order to better plan strategic moves to grow the state’s agricultural interests, the Kansas Department of Agriculture commissioned a Kansas Agribusiness Commodity Flow Study, analyzing the movement of crops, livestock and other agricultural products within and from the state of Kansas.

The study was a need identified through KDA’s Ag Growth Strategy project which indicated that multiple sectors across Kansas agriculture would benefit from a thorough understanding of commodity flow, both intra and interstate.

Flow studies like this one identify key value-added processing, market and demand points while assessing the role and use of infrastructure essential to commodity movement. Results from this report include information about net outflows of feed ingredients, the role played by road and rail infrastructure in the agriculture supply chain, and how Kansas leverages strong local synergies to add value in livestock production and processing.

“We look forward to seeing how this information will benefit our partners across the Kansas agriculture industry as the study provides detailed analysis of the movement of agricultural products,” said Mike Beam, Kansas secretary of agriculture. “It will help identify where opportunities exist to enhance commodity flow and improve market efficiency and competitiveness of Kansas agriculture, both domestically and globally.”

Some key points identified by the study include:

  • Kansas grain and oilseed production is increasing, with the greatest increases in corn and soybean production.

  • Even with robust ethanol production, Kansas has net inflows of dried distillers grains (DDGs). Kansas has net outflows of corn, grain sorghum, wheat, soybean meal, meat and bonemeal, and wheat midds.

  • The bulk of these outflows are to demand points within the 11-state region (Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico), with the exception of hard red winter wheat, for which 51% of outflows are outside the region.

  • Finding ways to add more value to Kansas grains within Kansas is a way to increase revenues, decrease transportation costs and reduce associated greenhouse gas emissions. Pathways for adding value to grains can include expanded livestock feeding and processing; increased biofuels production; and value-added grain processing such as protein extraction, synthetic amino acid production and production of other grain-based nutritional derivatives.

  • Kansas has net outflows of biofuels, with about 20% of biofuels moving outside the 11-state region. This implies that rail transport is an essential component of competitive biofuels production in Kansas. On a similar note, rail infrastructure is an essential part of moving the Kansas wheat crop to markets outside of Kansas and outside the 11-state region.

  • Kansas fed cattle processing facilities draw a significant share of their slaughter supply from outside the 11-state region. This suggests there may be an opportunity for more fed cattle feedlot production in Kansas; however, the Kansas-based supply shortage of DDGs would need to be addressed for more fed cattle feedlot production to be strongly competitive.

  • Kansas ships a substantial amount of soybean meal to poultry-producing areas in Oklahoma and Texas. Additionally, when the announced soybean processing facility in Montgomery County, Kan., begins operation, there will be more soybean meal available that could be the basis for more value-added production via broiler production in southeastern Kansas.

  • Kansas has a substantial amount of on-farm storage, and a strong country elevator and terminal elevator network. In addition, Kansas is well-positioned with rail shuttle-loading facilities within reasonable distances of the major crop-growing areas (especially wheat).

  • Overall, the counties producing most of the truck traffic are in the western part of the state. This is more evident when all flows — inbound, outbound, domestic — and exports are combined. Particularly, the Southwest Crop Reporting District (CRD) and the Northwest CRD handled a combined 44% of the agricultural truck traffic, as measured by ton-miles.

The study was conducted by Decision Innovative Solutions with input from the Kansas Department of Transportation, agricultural commodity organizations and several industry partners. Results from the study are now available to the public, and will be used by policymakers, stakeholders and other members of the Kansas agriculture industry as they make decisions in the future about infrastructure investments and new market development.

To view the full study, visit the KDA website at agriculture.ks.gov/commodityflow.

Kansas Department of Agriculture contributed to this article.



About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.

Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.

While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.

She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.

Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.

Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”

She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.

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